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Welcome to my blog.

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I’m Christine. I’m a gal obsessed with haunts, escape rooms and other oddities. That’s what this blog is dedicated to. Most of my entries will be about the west coast since that is where I live, however I also love to travel.

Thanks for stopping by.

Find me on twitter: @christinebarger

LIST OF 2016 HALLOWEEN HAUNTS & EVENTS (LOS ANGELES AREA) *

CATEGORIES:

ESCAPE ROOMS

ESCAPE ROOM INTERVIEWS

HAUNTS

OTHER ODDITIES

 

 

Looking for a worldwide escape room directory? ESCAPE ROOM AUTHORITY

ESCAPE ROOMS – Prison of the Dead Escape – Pennsylvania

PRISON OF THE DEAD ESCAPE 

Have you ever had one of those moments where you thought maybe “this is just a nightmare and I’ll wake up soon”? Well my experience at Prison of the Dead Escape was one of those moments and I mean that in the worst way possible.

This experience was easily one of the bottom 5 escape room experiences I’ve had out of the over 200 escape rooms I’ve played. The fact that it’s inside the haunted house is cool, but that’s the only compliment I can come up with for this catastrophe. What was so wrong with it? The hint system aka actor in the room, puzzles and lack thereof, confusing story, broken effects, linear game with a large mixed group of players and all around  unprofessionalism.

The puzzles were ridiculously easy to the point I wouldn’t even consider most of them puzzles. Then we weren’t even able to “solve” most of them ourselves because the guard (actor in the room named Natalia) kept telling us what to do next before we were even done telling the whole group what we found. There was another random guy that came in halfway to hang out with her which was really unprofessional but at least he kept her distracted a bit so we had a second to solve one puzzle without her unwanted help. I made a couple of comments about it to her during the game, but she didn’t take a hint…she just liked giving them a lot. There were way too many people stuffed into the game and not much for us to do since it’s primarily linear. A major component in the room didn’t work properly and she immediately explained that the mechanism want lit properly and instead of guiding us gently to discover it ourselves simply told me to put the code in the lock where I was standing. Come on…seriously…she couldn’t even let us figure out where to put it ourselves!?!?! Also if you know something is broken, fix it. It almost felt like she wanted to rush us through so she could go home early. And we did get out with 25 minutes left. Apparently the earlier group got out faster than us. Generally if groups are consistantly beating an escape room in roughly half the time allotted, then changes need to be made. It is NOT satisfying when you aren’t challenged at all. I promise we didn’t beat the room because of my or my husband’s experience because there was so little to do in this linear game that the group of 6 young people we were grouped with dominated and we pretty much sat back and watched waiting to wake up for the most part. (They were very nice kids.)  Lastly the story didn’t make any sense at all. We were a group of prisoners trying to escape, but a guard keeps helping us the entire time?

I would not recommend this escape game to anyone. However, the haunt by the same name at the same location during Halloween season is quite good.

PENNSYLVANIA ESCAPE ROOM LIS

Below is a list of the Escape Rooms I’ve played organized in order of MY favorite to least favorite in each city. Note: I especially enjoy horror, paranormal & magic themed escape rooms, so my preferences may be different than yours. Feel free to tweet me questions. 

PENNSYLVANIA ESCAPE ROOM LIST:

PHILADELPHIA

Escape the 1980s

Trapped PHL Escape Room

*You may also want to check out New Jersey. It’s pretty close to Philadelphia.

WEST CHESTER

Bates Motel Escape Room

SINKING SPRING

Prison of the Dead Escape Room

 

NEW JERSEY ESCAPE ROOM LIST

Below is a list of the Escape Rooms I’ve played organized in order of MY favorite to least favorite in each city. Note: I especially enjoy horror, paranormal & magic themed escape rooms, so my preferences may be different than yours. Feel free to tweet me questions. 

NEW JERSEY ESCAPE ROOM LIST:

COLLINGSWOOD

Escape Room South Jersey

 

* You may also want to check out Philadelphia for games near South Jersey. It’s not that far, although you may have to pay a toll to cross the bridge.

HAUNT – The Tension Experience ASCENSION – CA – 2016

THE TENSION EXPERIENCE ASCENSION

5 Stars (of 5)

Do you seek Enlightenment? The OOA Institute can help.

For the past seven months I have been part of a fascinating alternate reality game through The Tension Experience. It’s the wonderfully unique creation of Darren Lynn Bousman and Clint Sears. A community formed on the forums at the website. As the story unfolded participants chose sides between the OOA Institute and those against the OOA sided with the BOS. I have remained loyal to the OOA even though others have called it a cult.

You can read more about my early experiences with the OOA HERE as well as the event that wrapped up the first chapter of The Tension Experience called Indoctrination HERE.

As Indoctrination ended, it made way for the beginning of Ascension.

Ascension is a beautifully done event that can’t really be compared to anything else in Los Angeles. It’s a unique blend of interactive haunt, theatre, escape room, and more. It is a stand alone event so you don’t need to have any prior knowledge of the story. You will be immersed the the story whether or not you know anything at all about it going into the event.

However, if you have the time I recommend checking out the forums on The Tension Experience website. It is one of the warmest most welcoming online communities I’ve encountered. I’ve made real life friends through the forum. Actually the entire group with whom I attended Ascension were friends I’ve made on the forum.

This is a good point at which to mention I have never done an extreme haunt. To be honest I was a bit worried about Ascension because it seemed like all of my friends from The Tension Experience community loved extreme haunts and I had never done Alone or Blackout or anything like that. Well I’m pleased to say I didn’t call the safe word (I did think about it once).

Don’t get me wrong, it IS INTENSE. However it is not the type of extreme haunt where you just get beaten and humiliated, so if you watched The Blackout Experiment documentary know that this is different. The Tension Experience is so much more. It’s more psychological and less physical than I expected. It’s much more about creating an individual experience for each participant through storytelling that leaves an impression.

A little advice for your adventure into Ascension:

  • Do your best to attend with an open mind and be ready to be present in the moment.
  • Do not wear your favorite outfit or shoes as they may get dirty.
  • Leave your cell phone, jewelry, valuables at home or in the car. Believe me it felt weird not wearing my wedding ring, but I was so glad I left it at home for the event.
  • Do not be late. You will have a specific arrival time. Think of this as a performance more than a haunt. Give yourself ample time for traffic and finding the parking lot.
  • Use the bathroom before arriving and don’t drink a bunch of liquids. It is at least 2 hours without bathroom breaks.

Glory be!

HAUNT – 6 Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest – CA – 2016

SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN FRIGHT FEST 2016

2 Stars (of 5)

Over the past several years I’ve been a huge supporter of Fright Fest even encouraging people to attend over Knott’s Scary Farm & Universal Halloween Horror Nights. Last year I was disappointed in the lack of creativity and not changing the mazes, but this year I was so excited to come and experience everything again with the small changes that were made.

However, if every night this year is like opening night then I would just say to skip it.

The lines were poorly managed: We purchased the express pass and still waited 30 minutes in most maze lines while the general line appeared to move almost as quickly as express at times. I watched employees send people in 1:1 ratio on the 2 lines but express was similar in length at times.
The mazes have been changed, but not for the better: Toyz doesn’t have the impressive scenes that it used to. They also didn’t even offer glasses for the first half of the evening, so the first time we waited 25 minutes in the express line and it was just a blacklight maze without the 3D option. (We did return at the end of the night and were given glasses which changed the entire experience.) The Willoughby’s maze cut the awesome opening with the butler. The Garden maze was more of a dark sauna than a maze. I was mostly scared of passing out from the heat in it than the actors.
And what about Scare zones? Where were they? DC was just basically Suicide Squad photo ops. There were a handful of scare actors walking around attempting scares near maze entrances but no real scare zones except the zombie scare zone which I walked through several times and not one zombie even attempted to scare me and Terrortory Twisted. Also there was no hypnotist show. Apparently there was a Christian Revival or something happening in the theatre that night instead.

Overall I was very disappointed in the event. I had really high hopes for Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest and really looked forward to going only to be let down and reminded of the not-so-good old days of Fright Fest. I hope they step it up again next year so they can be back in the same league as Knott’s Scary Farm and Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights, but unfortunately this year they are not.

2016 Los Angeles area Halloween haunts & events

Below is a list of Halloween events and haunts in the Los Angeles and surrounding areas in no particular order with links to their sites.

HAUNTS

The Tension Experience  *** <My Review>

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights (HHN)

Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest ***<My Review>

Knott’s Scary Farm

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor

Sinister Pointe

Motel 6 Feet Under 

Creep Los Angeles

Delusion (initial run sold out)

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

Beware The Dark Realm

Reign of Terror (ROT)

Screenshot Productions The Rope

Zombie Joe’s Underground Urban Death

Unbound Productions Wicked Lit

Coffin Creek

Talladega Frights

Haunt at Heritage Hill

Field of Screams

The Fleshyard

17th Door

The Burial Grounds

Castle Dark

Scandia

Fear Station

All Saints Lunatic Asylum

Way of the Shadow Haunted House (2016 dates: 29, 30, 31)

RC Haunt

CookHaunt (New Location: Anaheim at the Pumpkin patch – catty corner from Cinema City)

HOME HAUNTS

Rotten Apple 

Boot Hill

The House on Haunted Hill

The Backwoods Maze

The Klownhouse

The Haunt at Daisy Avenue

Opechee Haunt

Van Oaks Cemeterey

The Haunt with No Name

Gothic Hills Cemetery

 

FAMILY EVENTS (not scary)

Boney Island (magical yard display)

Mickey’s Halloween Party

Boo at the Zoo

Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch

Rise of the Jack o lanterns 

Shawn’s Pumpkin Patch

Pa’s Pumpkin Patch

Cal Poly Pumpkin Festival Pomona

Pumpkin Liner

Sleepover at the Natural History Museum

Happy Harbor Halloween

Scarium of the Pacific

Knott’s Spooky Farm

Kidspace Children’s Museum Pumpkin Festival

Halloween Spooktacular City of Pico Rivera

Slightly Spooky Stories at Descanso Gardens

 

EVENTS

Shriekfest

Blackthorne Screamfest

Drunken Devil Witches Ball

Hollywood Monster Night

West Hollywood Carnaval

Long Beach Zombie Fest

Crown City Theatre Company Nosferatu (theatre)

Maverick Theatre Night of the Living Dead (theatre)

Legend of Sleepy Hollow (about 3 hours outside of LA)

ESCAPE ROOM – The Escape Bus – California 

THE ESCAPE BUS 


Escape Bus is the most fun you’ll ever have on a school bus. This new mobile escape room is one of a kind. 

This converted school bus is transformed inside into a prison transport and you are prisoners that must escape. 

The story is skillfully told through videos and game pieces found throughout the adventure. The set is incredible. This is not your standard combination lock style room, but rather a creative use of technology combined with locks. Overall it’s a very solid game for both new players and enthusiasts.